PA Industries Violate Clean Water Permits

Thirty five years after the Clean Water Act was made law, environmental groups say industries are still discharging too many pollutants into waterways. Penn Environment recently released a report claiming failures to comply with the law's regulations. The Allegheny Frontís Nicole Henninger has more.

Read the transcript »Close the Transcript

Transcript

OPEN: Thirty five years after the Clean Water Act was made law, environmental groups say industries are still discharging too many pollutants into waterways. Penn Environment recently released a report claiming failures to comply with the law's regulations. The Allegheny Frontís Nicole Henninger has more.

HENNINGER: In 2005, Pennsylvania industries dumped more than their allowed level of pollution into rivers and streams. They did that more than 1500 times. Thatís according to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency analyzed by Penn Environment.

Allegheny County ranks sixth in the nation for violations of clean water permits. During 2005, eighteen county facilities reported going beyond their permit limits at least once. Westmoreland and Beaver Counties both rank 33rd worst.

Nathan Wilcox, of PennEnvironment, says the county stats mirror a nationwide trend.

WILCOX: Nationally, our report found that 57 percent of all major facilities discharged more pollution into our waterways than their permits allow, at least once during 2005...Polluters in western Pennsylvania reported 121 instances by which they exceeded their Clean Water Act permit by at least 500 percent over the legal limit.

HENNINGER: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Neil Weaver says the report makes, ìthe assumption that every permit exceedance causes a violation of water quality standards, and that is not accurate.î He ADDS that the report fails to look at follow-up compliance actions taken by the DEP in response to violations.

For The Allegheny Front, this is Nicole Henninger.